During the March 22 meeting of the Spring ISD Board of Trustees, the board members, district administrators and special guests in attendance had the opportunity to witness a very special Spring ISD Police Department ceremony welcoming the department’s youngest-ever new sergeant – 10-year-old Devarjaye “DJ” Daniel.
“We’re swearing in someone tonight,” Spring ISD Police Chief Ken Culbreath told the trustees, “and it’s a true honor for us.”
Daniel, whose family lives in Pearland, has been battling brain and spine cancer for several years. Inspired by his dream of becoming a police officer when he grows up, Daniel set a goal to be sworn in by 100 law enforcement agencies in an effort to bring greater awareness to childhood cancer.
Since announcing his goal, Daniel has received an outpouring of support from police departments and other law enforcement agencies across the region. He met his initial goal of 100 agencies in January, but hasn’t stopped there, and the invitations keep coming. By the time Culbreath swore in “Sergeant DJ” as an honorary member of the Spring ISD Police Department, Daniel had been sworn in by nearly 400 law enforcement agencies.
“Chief Culbreath believes that sergeants are the cornerstone of any innovative and highly productive law enforcement agency,” said Spring ISD Superintendent Dr. Lupita Hinojosa before Daniel raised his right hand to take the official oath. “Sergeants are responsible for ensuring that every police officer values human life and treats everyone with dignity and respect.”
Daniel’s father, Theodis Daniel, addressed the board after the swearing-in ceremony, thanking them and the Spring ISD Police Department for supporting his son’s dream and helping to promote awareness of the special challenges faced by children with cancer and their families. In particular, he thanked those present for “just caring and showing compassion for him.”
“We’re going to keep on going as far as we can go,” he said, noting that his son’s efforts were also meant to honor the memory of Abigail Arias, a Freeport girl who died at just seven years old in 2019 after her own struggle with a rare kidney cancer, but not before fulfilling her dream of being sworn in as an honorary member of the Freeport Police Department just a few months before her death.
Culbreath said that Daniel’s story – together with his inspiring spirit – had touched the hearts of Spring ISD’s police force and meant a lot to them as law enforcement officers who work regularly with children. He thanked all those who had helped coordinate the swearing-in ceremony for Spring ISD’s own “Sergeant DJ.”
“I want to acknowledge our police department,” Chief Culbreath said. “They’ve championed this from the beginning.”